Monday, 20 December 2010

Fuchsia's Attic

I LOVE the snow. Granted, it’s a nightmare for all and sundry and is likely to separate people this Christmas, which is horrible, but it can look so beautiful when the sun shines on it, and it highlights so much about our lives that we wouldn’t normally notice. Forced to get out and walk or stay indoors, our patterns change. Our reliances change. And all across the nation, silence falls. The silence of each morning since the snow began to fall has been mesmerising.

It also means we can see who else shares our world. Not only have I seen paw prints (very cute) of domestic cats and dogs but also foxes, birds and possibly other animals. We catch an insight into how they behave and where they tend to tread. At Kings Norton train station yesterday, awaiting a delayed train, I followed some animal steps as they wandered off into pristine snow, wobbling along the upper reaches of the platform. They passed beyond the line over which passengers cannot cross, so I followed them from the fence behind the platform instead. That is, until they just vanished. I was baffled. Where had my furry friend gone? I never did find out: people were watching me suspiciously, so I went back to the platform to wait for my train and behaved.

Of course, the cold weather has down sides, including seasonal flu, of which I suffered the last few days of last week. It was my reward for a successful visit to Warwickshire College to talk to students about life in science and in the laboratory. Exhausted, we returned triumphant of having interested a few students and entertained (but not necessarily for the right reasons) some others. However, the following morning I was not a well bunny.

I’m back to work now and the rush is on to finish for Christmas and New Year, which means this is probably my final post of the year. It has not been a prolific year for writing here, for which there are many plausible reasons and excuses. But don’t be thinking nothing has happened – so, so much has happened instead. Principally, I got married, and it was, and still is, fantastic.

The year ends with pure contentedness. I often struggle to know what I would like for Christmas, but this year I really would be content with nothing, because where my life is right now, what I have with and around me already is all that I want. I’m genuinely grateful for my lot.

I have, however, lost my writing voice of late, and I do want that back. Telling stories here and elsewhere is how I hold on to memories – I used to hoard things, but don’t so much any more, favouring the tales I can share instead – but this has fallen by the wayside. Early next year I am going to work on finding my voice again, finding a time and a place to allocate to thinking and writing. The search for my very own Fuchsia’s Attic is on.

Merry Christmas to you all. I hope that you have a relaxing holiday, and that 2011 brings hope and joy to you in delightfully unexpected ways.